BOSTON With three perfect innings from relievers Andrew Miller, Vicente Padilla, and Alfredo Aceves the Red Sox bullpen has a sterling 1.66 ERA in 11 games in May, allowing 10 earned runs over 54 13 innings. That three of those runs and one inning belong to outfielder Darnell McDonald makes those numbers even more impressive a 1.18 ERA.
In all, it has been a dramatic turnaround for the bullpen collectively, and for some relievers, individually from the first month of season.
Still, manager Bobby Valentine said after Saturdays win over the Indians, You still wonder when you go to the bullpen.
That was not a knock on the pens performance. Its just part of the learning process for all involved.
You got guys who arent battle tested so we got to figure out what they can do and how they can do it, Valentine said. Could Andrew Miller pitch three days in a row? We found out yes. That was the first time weve seen that. What kind of bounce-back capabilities Rich Hill has after the injury Tommy John surgery in June. Were going to figure that out. And other little things like that. Thats what a seasons for.
I think were starting to figure things out.
Theres no set point in a season when that happens, Valentine said. Its all part of the season-long progression and evolution. The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals are his poster children for that kind of progression.
I think it happens with most seasons, he said. And again, maybe its been different around here because everythings been so set for so many years. Most teams in most seasons continue to build their team as the season goes on. They continue to get together, they continue to tweak things, change things, make things better to get to the finish line.
I mentioned it before but I think the classic case in point maybe was St. Louis last year. They won the world championship and this time were in totally disarray. They were just about releasing their closer, I think, about this time, maybe it was little before now. Things happen that way.